21 January 2013

Liberia: Oil Blunder Should Not Affect Our Nation


The Unity Party led government is slithering rapidly in handling certain issues of national concern that are important to the future of the nation and people.

The government handling of concession agreements over the years has been typified as being shoddy, sometimes shrouded in secrecy, not transparent, and some of those who emerged as winners of these contracts are not even prepared financially or technically to venture into the area.

Several Contracts Have been signed since the Unity Party government came to power. However, it is important to know that some of these contracts, which border around our natural resources, contain mistakes that could jeopardize the interests of the country.

Yet, Government Has not explained why Buchanan Renewable sold out without considering the socio-economic impact it would have on the Liberian people. Also, government has not stated why Elenilto sold the western cluster to India's Sasa Goa for more than US$145 million - without throwing a shovel.

Why Contemplating On these issues, House Speaker J. Alex Tyler revealed last week that the government, specifically the Executive and the House of Representatives blundered in the ratification of some of the concession agreements, especially oil contracts due to the lack of information.

Mr. Tyler Told a news conference at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism that during the passage of some of the contracts in the 52nd Legislature, members of the House did not have access to previous bills that were passed into law, and based on lack of information, they took decisions which now compel members of the House to revisit the agreement and insert the appropriate portions that would protect the future of the country.

Speaker Tyler Said during the passage of the oil agreements, the House made some blunders which did not address strategic areas in the oil contracts with specific regard to benefits that would be accrued by the government and the people of Liberia.

However, Following Research, Mr. Tyler said they discovered the existence of a 2002 Liberian Petroleum Law, which the House is now using as a legal reliance for the pending review of all oil contracts.

It Is Difficult to determine whether those who negotiated the resources of the country meticulously do so by doing research, making contacts with individuals who have the experience and expertise to provide scholarly information that ultimately protects the interest of the Liberian people.

We Are Disappointed that the Executive and Legislative branches of government would approve of an agreement without knowing that laws are not retroactive. The 2002 Liberian Petroleum Law was crafted during the regime of ex-president Charles Taylor, and It does not take away anything from the Unity Party government if it borrows a legal instrument from the Taylor regime.

Notwithstanding, We Encourage government to be very scrupulous, critical and legal minded in going into discussions that involve the future of our country. This government must learn to listen to the expert opinions of serious individuals as it relates to foreign companies that lack the ability to perform.

We Call For the review of all agreements, especially the oil contracts to avoid mistakes that would affect our country.

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